Women's History Month: Kansas NORML acknowledges Shona Banda.


Image from Shonda Banda's GoFundMe campaign.
Image from Shonda Banda's GoFundMe campaign.

Shonda was a Garden City, Kansas resident, and is a sufferer of Crohn's disease.


In 2015 she was arrested in Kansas for:

  • endangering a child (at the time her son was 11 and living at home, where she medicated.)

  • distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of school property,

  • unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, and

  • possession of drug paraphernalia in relation to her use of marijuana products


She faced up to 30 years in prison.


Bleeding Kansas Advocates quickly picked up her story and rallied behind her for the duration of her trial. Below is the passionate statement BKA wrote about the case and their support of Shona:

 

Shona Banda: Why does Bleeding Kansas support her?


Let's address some of the top negative comments I have heard about our support of Shona Banda.

"We know she smoked it at one time and now it's all about the oil." Please see the study below and also read Shona's book: Live Free or Die. When she began her journey she tried many delivery systems, and experimented, until she found the process of oil manufacturing that worked for her. Hence, her many YouTube videos on her process. The study shows, regardless of the delivery system, cannabis has proven effective in the treatment of Crohn's. So, I ask, why is the delivery system the focus rather than the research, or the violation of her most basic human rights? Whether smoked or in oil, it helps her disease symptoms. So, why is it any of our government's business? "She lived close to a school. She knew that was a problem." She lived close to the school for her son. Just like many of us. Again, to justify what is blatantly an unjust violation of our basic human rights because we should just know we live in a jackboot state is tantamount to the worst of victim-blaming. Should I not just live in some area because it is known they don't like Jews? And if something anti-semitic should occur, I just have it coming because I should have known better? What if I have to live there because I need the support of my family in that area, or have family members in that area that need my care? Why must we look for some reason to take the blame off of the unjust rule and look to blame the victim? The unjust law is what is wrong here. What are we afraid of that keeps us from confronting this fact? Do we just feel too powerless, too out of control of our own democracy? Does seeing this case bring too close the knowledge that at any moment, any one of us could be victimized by the Kansas system due to our political beliefs, our religion (or lack thereof), or our sexuality? We have seen it happen this year, time and again.

Just recently Merrick removed committee members that he felt would not vote as the Kansas puppet masters wished them to vote. Who cares if they were voting the will of the people of Kansas, right? We saw Brownback take away the protection for state LGBT workers. We saw Mary Pillcher-Cook seek to charge teachers with felonies for teaching "objectionable material." Objectionable to whom? Who gets to make that call? Shouldn't it be the parents and the school board? In this, I agree with Roosevelt, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Fear breeds apathy and hopelessness. We cannot give in to fear. When we do tyrants win, injustice rules, and our rights will evaporate before us, as they have steadily been doing so in Kansas. Shona matters because Shona is every Kansas patient. It is our most basic freedoms at stake. Our unalienable rights are outlined in our Declaration of Independence: Our right to LIFE, LIBERTY, and HAPPINESS, which in this case is our best quality of life. The government should not have a say over our bodies and our health care.

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now." -Thomas Jefferson- Notes on Virginia, Query XVII (1781-1785) Our founding fathers and mothers would be appalled that this mother chose to pursue saving her life, and sought to guarantee her best quality of life, by exercising her liberty to choose a non-toxic and natural treatment for her terminal illness, and is now being prosecuted for it. We support Shona because cannabis can heal Crohn's, and every Kansas Crohn's patient should have the right to access it. The research on Crohn's and cannabis is significant. You can simply Google "Crohn's and cannabis" and begin your due diligence to seek the truth.

I will include one study here:

CONCLUSIONS: Three months' treatment with inhaled cannabis improves quality of life measurements, disease activity index, and causes weight gain and rise in BMI in long-standing IBD patients. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22095142

Also, you must look up Coltyn Turner, a young boy with Crohn's, now off all pharmaceuticals and treating with cannabis alone. His mother came from Colorado to support Shona at her preliminary hearing.

His PSA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm19RLwtnok A MUST watch to hear his full testimony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOPuOzySg_0 Finally, we must discuss the power of the people to "veto" a law they find to be unjust and immoral.

We are NOT powerless!

This right of jury members to say, "not guilty," because they believe a law to be immoral or unjust can save Shona Banda's life. What is jury nullification? Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate they are charged with deciding." http://law2.umkc.edu/.../ftrials/zenger/nullification.html Morals and ethics do play a role in a jury's decision, even if they find the law was violated. Luckily, we do have that final power of moral judgment via jury nullification. We can vote "not guilty" even if we concede the law was indeed violated but we find the law to be immoral or wrongly applied. Huge applause to our founding fathers. Here in Kansas, we must fight to raise awareness, to educate, and to inform, especially to the power of jury nullification. Why we may be blocked by special interests in the legislature, they cannot fully block the power of the people. We hold final veto power in the jury box. Rosa Parks did not have the legal right to remain in her seat. The SNCC college kids did not have the legal right to sit at the lunch counters. Those were the laws of their state. Shona will face what she must face and she does so willingly, with a lot of physical and emotional suffering, but believing, as many of us do, that some are chosen to bear the burden of such a battle. She does not ask to be found not guilty because a law wasn't broken, she is asking to be found not guilty because the law is immoral and wrongly applied. She will not be asking this of the judge, or lawmakers, or the police, but of her fellow citizens.

That is where our efforts lie, with our neighbors, our fellow congregants, our fellow PTA members, etc. I do not believe that those in power can be swayed by anything less than a powerful movement of the people. The tentacles of special interests are all around their throats.

I do believe in the people of Kansas as people of a good conscience, believers in our founding principles, and as a people of true compassion. I believe they will use their power for their neighbor, as they would want someone else to use that power for them. I believe they will say not guilty because the law is immoral and wrongly applied.

" I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is, in reality, expressing the highest respect for the law."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I plead with all, today it is Shona, tomorrow it can be you or someone you love who may need this medicine to live and to thrive.

Why must Kansans continue to suffer and die, when Illinois, Colorado, and soon Missouri and Oklahoma will surround us with families and citizens who are #FreeToHeal? Our rights are NOT dictated by our zip code.


 

Through the due diligence of her attorneys and the support of 84,000 cannabis enthusiasts, supporters and a